HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Best liver and onions in Toronto?

Listened to Marion Kane on the radio today who sparked a craving for good old fashioned , home-style liver and onions. Any good recs for diners or neighbourhood restos in Toronto that serve this (nonburbs please)? Chicken or beef liver, love them both.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: millygirl

      Second Pastis! Calves liver with ladons and red wine reduction best in the city! You can have their seared foie gras to start with too!

    2. i really enjoyed the liver and onions at dr. generosity @ bloor east of runnymede.


      1. I like Batifole's version, the pan deglazed with Banyuls vinegar.

        2 Replies
        1. re: childofthestorm

          When did you have Batifole's version last?! I had it about 4 months ago and it was HORRIBLE! The 'overcooked' liver ( I ordered it rare) was resting in a pool of watery gravy! Totally uncharacteristic of a 'deglazed' product.. Taste is much less refined and complex than Pastis!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            About six months ago. Ordered medium rare and it was perfect. Sauce was a lovely glaze. Perhaps you caught them on a bad night, I don't know...and I haven't tried Pastis's version so I have no point of comparison.

        2. My usual place is Cafe Pleiade (on Mt Pleasant). In fact that's also my go to place whenever I want non-greasy comfort food.
          And their asparagus appetizer is also a fave.

          3 Replies
          1. re: estufarian

            The liver as Pasta Bar (is that what it's still called?) was really good.

            1. re: acd123

              Must agree with acd123.....The Pasta Bar at Scaramouche makes AMAZING Liver 'n Onions....more pricey than most but decidely worth every penny.
              On a more modest scale is the Liver and Onions at Senior's on Yonge Street at Pleasant Blvd.......damn good in the 'neighbourhood style'.

              1. re: pearlD

                I nearly put Senior's too. I go there for a fix sometimes, but find it a little greasy, so went with my other recommendation of Cafe Pleiade. But Senior's certainly qualifies.

          2. In another thread, I mentioned having L&O at the Palace on Pape, just north of Danforth. It was grilled rare and piled high with onions. Nothing fancy, like some of the others mentioned, just outright delicious and cut-with-a-fork tender.

            1. Merlot has great liver and onions.

              But now I live too far away and so I hope someone has a recommendation in Richmond Hill.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mexivilla

                Ah, liver and onions. One of my favorite tests of a resto. Of those mentioned above, I've enjoyed Pastis Express and the Pasta Bar at Scaramouche the most. Both at roughly the same price. And close behind, in quality but in price as well, is the also-aforementioned Cafe Pleiade, a charming joint on Mount Pleasant Rd. To which I'll add Paese, on Bathurst St. north of Wilson Ave. (even though its price scandalously jumped recently to above $20); and Coppi, another Italian spot, on Yonge St. between Lawrence and York Mills. Most other places I've tried are pretty much a washout. After hamburgers, liver and onions has to be one of the most botched comfort food dishes in Toronto.

                Mad Buy Dept.: though the OP mentioned that he/she doesn't want to travel to the suburbs for a liver-and-onions fix, there's also the best cheap and tasty version in Toronto, in my view, at Steeles Deli, a diner on Steeles Ave. west of Yonge St., in a plaza diagonally across from a Canadian Tire store. It may not be prime provimi liver, but it's mighty delicious diner food at $12-$13 (it comes in two sizes), and you can't beat the price, which is about half what it is in the fancier joints. It comes with soup or salad, and potatoes and veggies. For lighter appetites, Steeles Deli also serves it as a sandwich.

                1. re: juno

                  Thanks for the great list of places Juno. Properly cooked calves livers are also one of my litmus tests for a resto. They are almost never done properly (either in their prep or cooking) and are often disappointing. The best ones I've ever had in the city have been at Le Select but I will have to try the Pasta Bar and Pastis-thanks for the recs.!

                  1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                    I'll have to try this dish at Le Select, since they have a good beer list, to accompany the liver.

                    The best liver I've had was lamb liver. Can this be found in the city?

              2. To me, the Middle Eastern way of making liver (with hot peppers) is far superior to liver and onions. The Jerusalem Restaurant makes a good example of this.

                1. The absolute unrivaled best liver in the entire GTA without fail is SOUTHERN ACCENT. If you've liked liver anywhere else in the city, this recipe will blow your socks off (even if you hate liver). - TC

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: TCTCTC

                    By coincidence I was back at Café Pleiades tonight (which I recommended in 2009 earlier in this thread).
                    Had the liver and onions. Fantastic!

                    Given that you've posted that Southern Accent is 'unrivalled' - please confirm that you've actually been to the places recommended above before making this statement.
                    Incidentally, I HAVE been to Southern Accent (but didn't have the liver) - don't actually recall it being on the menu when I went. Do you know when it was added? I haven't been back since I had the Turducken one year - the greasiest version I've ever had. It seems to me it went downhill after the original owner (ex-Rosedale Diner) moved on.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      Great tip.

                      Man, I love Liver and Onions. As a poor student, going to small family restaurants for a decent warm filling meal, there was no better deal than L&Os. HUGE meal usually cheaper than a burger, and so much better. Accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, and usually dessert (who doesn't LOVE homemade rice pudding !).

                      So sorry, I couldn't resist reminiscing...

                      BTW, the best L&Os in Europe are usually pork liver. Hard to find here. U haven't lived til you have had fresh pork, venison, or moose liver.

                      Did I hear someone say liver, onions, AND bacon ?

                      OK I'll go now...

                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                        Allow me to join your reminiscing train, PoppiYYZ.

                        When I was working in Paris years ago, the Michelin 3 star 'Lucas Carton' by Alain Sanderen was in an experimental novelle cuisine mode and served me a 'Liver & Onion' with 'Dark Chocolate Sauce'!! Unfortunately, it was a big miss tastewise!! Pig's blood and chocolate did not go well!! Stuck in my mine till today though!!

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          Ha ha,

                          I thought chocolate went with everything ! I now stand corrected.

                          Worst homemade student meal : sweet and sour stir fried liver. That one never got made again !

                      2. re: estufarian

                        I think BIff's version of Liver is fantastic.

                        1. re: estufarian

                          Ah come on, Est'n. TCTCTC is permitted to gush a little.

                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                            Only if she actually has compared.
                            Using 'unrivalled' is more than 'a little'.

                          2. re: estufarian

                            I think you might be correct 'estufarian'......At one time Southern Accent had amazing liver and onions but it was Chicken Livers not the other (Beef, Calf or whatever other)... I used to order it all the time long ago. haven't been in years but chicken livers were always on the menu, I may be mistaken but pretty sure they were never an entree only as an appetizer....

                            1. re: pearlD

                              Of course. I DO recall the chicken livers. Was just thinking veal/calf.

                              Maybe it's just me - but I associate 'liver' with 4 legged origin (unless we're referencing food with Chianti); and 'livers' with 2 legged origin. So that may have led me to make assumptions.

                              Then, of course, there's the 'pâté' version - but that wasn't the subject of this post (although well worthy of a separate discussion if anyone's interested).

                              Maybe the poster who revived this thread can give additional info as to the comparison versions tried to warrant the 'unrivalled' tag.

                              1. re: estufarian

                                Exceptions: duck/goose liver, monkfish liver.

                            2. re: estufarian

                              see below...pearlD......I didn't post correctly..wrong place...

                          3. Bistro Camino's version is superb. Best I ever have had. Once had it three trips in a row.
                            Call ahead to see if they have it or will get it for you.
                            See prior posts.

                            1. I love Canadian humor.

                              1. With blatant disregard for the "nonburbs" qualifier, Steeles Deli deserves a nomination with excellent and unpretentious liver and onions.